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I quit building my own computers many years ago. The components were cheap, and I always seemed to justify the amount of time it took to bring them all together into a stable, usable PC.

Slowly I began to understand the value of time. Time with friends and family. Time to watch my kids grow up. Time to build a business. Time for R&R.

I went from building my own boxes from scratch to modifying preconfigured boxes to simply buying a box and calling it a day. While I may no longer have the best of every single component inside the box what I have gained is a better quality of life and more time to focus on the things that are most important to me. And I can tell you what is most important is not sitting in the office tinkering with hardware. Unless it happens to be the short block from a 67 Mustang Fastback.

The real differentiators for the "cloud" itself, to me, will be ease of use. How quickly can I get up and running? How efficiently and cost effectively can I keep things running? And how reliably can I continue to meet my SLAs as I grow?

On top of that, can it support my favorite apps? And what sort of other apps of interest to me are available for the cloud of my choice?

Frankly, it's no different than the expectations of managed web hosting today. If it's easy to use, supports everything I need with the speed and reliability I want, at a price I can afford, I'm in.


As someone who like Randy spends all of their time working on building clouds through service provider partners I'd like to share a quick quote that, I think, highlights some of Chuck's comments around Health-Care provision as proxy for some parts of the cloud market as well.

A large partner, with both a commodity Xen based cloud and a very large VMware hosting business said:

"Yes, we talk about Xen, all the time to developers, its hip its cool, its about taking on the man and the world. But when we get people with large budgets in to discuss their ears really never perk up till we mention VMware--then they get their wallets out. Because that's where they have placed their trust, and that's who they count to handle their business."

This is as literal of a quote as I can remember it.

Chuck Hollis

Insightful comment -- thanks for sharing!

-- Chuck

Gavin Jackson

In the argument of commodity vs differentiated and in the context of Service Providers and their business models, to my mind there is no argument... differentiated wins!

It is correct to say that Enterprises hold the cards and will vote, perhaps even tentitively, with their dollars/pounds/euros etc.

It would be a very brave Service Provider that leads with cost and commodity as it's core value.

Quite apart from the other considerations Enterprises have to make in terms of security, exit strategy, service interuption and subsequent service remedy (all relevent themes to support 'differentiated' clouds for SP's today), Service Providers will miss the next wave of revenue opportunity that is coming as a result of technology advances in the not too distant future.

When you look at the forthcoming products from Vmware (project Redwood for example) and the recent announcements by EMC for Global Active-Active cloud storage (V-Plex), the use-cases that become exposed for savvy Service Providers becomes game-changing!

We are of course talking about real 'federation'. Enterprises having the ability to toggle between internal and external services in a Private Cloud with consistent technologies and pooled resources.

I'm thinking Active (internal) - Active (external) environments for 'burst' resource allocation. I'm thinking follow the sun mobility for workloads and workers. I'm thinking M&A cloud integration services. I'm thinking global power calculators in real time helping Enterprises move from one location to another to benefit from power costs at any given time. There are several more, but you get the point.

These opportunities simply won't be open to commodity players. Enterprises won't have the ability to toggle between their Enterprise-grade infrastructure and the Service Providers bits and pieces. And frankly (IMHO) I don't think they'd want to!

In the final analysis, Service Provider business models that deal exclusively in commodities can only ever see cost lines going up due to sprawl of distributed infrastructure and revenue lines going down due to price-pressures. That's not a business model I'd be embracing in a hurry!


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Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.

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